sustainability-logo

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

Agricultural Sustainability at the Crossroads: Indicators, Approaches, Impacts and Options

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2021) | Viewed by 45670

Special Issue Editors

Institute of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan
Interests: Agricultural productivity; Agricultural policy and development; Natural resource management; Climate change; Disaster risk adaptation; Vulnerability; Resilience; Willingness to pay (WTP) ; Climate extremes and their management

E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Faisalabad | Department of Agronomy, University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Faisalabad, Pakistan
Interests: Stress physiology; Nutrient cycling and environmental sustainability; Seed invigoration; Plant tolerance and climate change; Oxidative metabolism; Yield stability and policy intervention

E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), 15374, Muencheberg, Germany
Interests: Environmental management and policy; Crop and livelihood diversification; Sustainable land management; Droughts and flood resistance; Adaptation planning; Climate variability and crop productivity; Crop modelling and sustainability

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Agricultural production is one of the basic output-generating sectors with prime relevance to food security for the masses in many countries, in general, and developing countries, in particular. In the present day of market-based production efforts, many production practices are making agriculture unsustainable through pollution of ecosystems, natural resource degradation, excessive use of underground water, and so on. In this regard, sustainable agricultural practices need to be documented by highlighting appropriate strategies for the conservation of natural resources, sustainability impacts of alternative options such as organic agriculture, use of best management practices, and clean production efforts. There is also a need to document and offer research and policy insights related to the development/refinement of indicators linked with sustainable agriculture. Additionally, work related to the challenges and constraints in the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices would be highly useful to formulate informed policy interventions with possible impacts on output, livelihood, rural incomes, and food security aspects. Moreover, this Special Issue will also focus on presenting work related to various approaches and their possible impact on achieving agricultural sustainability in the context of fast-changing climatic dynamics particularly in the case of developing countries. This can include, but is not limited to, the options available to farming communities vis-a-vis institutional and infrastructural support, community roles, financial requirements, and the possibility of international collaboration among institutions and organizations. The role of markets can also be highlighted with added rigor to come up with ideas related to output pricing, subsidization, and support price interventions, respectively, for inputs and output, households' demand/acceptance for green agricultural products, as well as the decision environment for farmers to participate in such production practices that promote sustainable agriculture. Last but not the least, the role of academia and research can also be highlighted in promoting such an outcome.

Dr. Azhar Abbas
Dr. Saddam Hussain
Dr. Mu​hammad Arshad
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Ecological sustainability
  • Cleaner production
  • Natural resource conservation
  • Agricultural productivity
  • Economic incentives
  • Community participation
  • Agricultural intensification and diversification

Published Papers (13 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

14 pages, 821 KiB  
Article
A Quest for Livelihood Sustainability? Patterns, Motives and Determinants of Non-Farm Income Diversification among Agricultural Households in Punjab, Pakistan
by Muhammad Amjed Iqbal, Muhammad Rizwan, Azhar Abbas, Muhammad Sohail Amjad Makhdum, Rakhshanda Kousar, Muhammad Nazam, Abdus Samie and Nasir Nadeem
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9084; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13169084 - 13 Aug 2021
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 3300
Abstract
Many farmers worldwide resort to choosing various income-earning options for diversifying their income sources as a means of risk-avoidance, social protection, and, above all, to finance agricultural operations. Non-farm income generation among farm families has become an imperative part of livelihood earning strategies [...] Read more.
Many farmers worldwide resort to choosing various income-earning options for diversifying their income sources as a means of risk-avoidance, social protection, and, above all, to finance agricultural operations. Non-farm income generation among farm families has become an imperative part of livelihood earning strategies in recent years amid fast-evolving climatic and sociodemographic changes. In this regard, this study seeks to identify the patterns and socioeconomic factors responsible for the uptake of various non-farm income diversification sources among agricultural households in southern Punjab, Pakistan. For this purpose, a total of 290 farm households were sampled using a random sampling technique to collect relevant data through structured questionnaires. Results show that approximately 79% of the surveyed farmers were involved in non-farm income generation activities, whereas, the income from these sources accounts for about 15% of total household income. The majority of the respondents offered labour for off-farm work followed by self-employment ventures. The major reason to pursue non-farm work includes low income from agriculture, mitigating risks associated with farming, and acquiring funds to finance farming operations, along with the desire to increase family income. A range of socioeconomic and infrastructure-related variables are associated with the decision to participate in specific off-farm activity, such as age, education, family size, farm income, dependency burden, farming experience, and distance to the main city. Results imply the provision of technical support to increase livelihood from farming operations to ensure food security and curb rural-urban migration. However, vocational training can enhance the rural inhabitants’ skillset to diversify on the farm through agribusiness development within rural areas, enabling them to employ local people instead of populating urban centres. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

19 pages, 16807 KiB  
Article
Ecotypic Morphological and Physio-Biochemical Responses of Two Differentially Adapted Forage Grasses, Cenchrus ciliaris L. and Cyperus arenarius Retz. to Drought Stress
by Muhammad Adeel Ghafar, Nudrat Aisha Akram, Muhammad Hamzah Saleem, Jianyong Wang, Leonard Wijaya and Mohammed Nasser Alyemeni
Sustainability 2021, 13(14), 8069; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13148069 - 20 Jul 2021
Cited by 27 | Viewed by 2759
Abstract
Crop performance and yield are the results of genotypic expression as modulated by continuous interaction with the environment. Among the environmental aspects, drought and salinity are the most important factors, which limit the forages, including grasses, on a global basis. Grass species have [...] Read more.
Crop performance and yield are the results of genotypic expression as modulated by continuous interaction with the environment. Among the environmental aspects, drought and salinity are the most important factors, which limit the forages, including grasses, on a global basis. Grass species have the ability to grow under low water conditions and can produce high dry yield, proteins, and energy in areas exposed to drought stress. For this purpose, we conducted the present study to understand the response of forage grasses under drought stress from two different regions (Salt Range and Faisalabad) of Punjab, Pakistan. Two ecotypes of each grass species (Cenchrus ciliaris L. and Cyperus arenarius Retz.) were grown in pots at the botanical research area, Government College University Faisalabad, Pakistan. A group of plants were subjected to drought stress (60% field capacity) and controlled (100% field capacity) after three weeks of seed germination. The results from the present study depicted that the fresh and dry weights of root and shoot were decreased significantly under drought conditions. Moreover, C. ciliaris of the Salt Range area showed more resistance and higher growth production under drought stress. The chlorophyll (a and b) contents were also decreased significantly, while MDA, total soluble sugars, and proline levels were increased significantly under water-limited environments in the C. arenarius of Salt Range area. Enzymatic antioxidants (superoxidase dismutase (SOD) and peroxidase (POD)) and leaf Na+ were significantly raised in C. arenarius under drought stress collected from the Faisalabad region. Cenchrus ciliaris showed higher level of H2O2, total soluble proteins, glycinebetaine, catalase (CAT) and POD compared to C. arenarius. It also retained more leaf and root Ca2+, and root K+ under drought stress. It was concluded from the study that C. ciliaris is more resistant to drought in biomass production collected from the Salt Range area. The results suggested that C. ciliaris can be more widely used as a forage grass under water-scarce conditions as compared to C. arenarius. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

17 pages, 1337 KiB  
Article
Can Enhancing Efficiency Promote the Economic Viability of Smallholder Farmers? A Case of Sierra Leone
by Silvia Saravia-Matus, T. S. Amjath-Babu, Sreejith Aravindakshan, Stefan Sieber, Jimmy A. Saravia and Sergio Gomez y Paloma
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4235; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13084235 - 10 Apr 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3871
Abstract
By developing meta-frontier efficiency and structural equation models, the paper examines whether farm economic viability is positively associated with technical efficiency in a highly food insecure context, such as that of rural Sierra Leone. The findings show that technical efficiency can be a [...] Read more.
By developing meta-frontier efficiency and structural equation models, the paper examines whether farm economic viability is positively associated with technical efficiency in a highly food insecure context, such as that of rural Sierra Leone. The findings show that technical efficiency can be a sufficient but not necessary condition in determining economic viability of smallholder farming. It is possible to breach reproductive thresholds at the cost of reduced technical efficiency, when the crop diversification strategy of smallholders includes market-oriented high-value crops. This calls for a dual policy approach that addresses farmers’ internal needs for self-consumption (increasing efficiency of food crop production) while encouraging market-oriented cash crop production (diversification assisted through the reduction of associated transaction costs and the establishment of accessible commercialization channels of export related crops and/or high-value crops). The work also calls out for a move-up or move-out strategy for small holders to create viable farming systems in developing world. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

12 pages, 2251 KiB  
Article
Improving Water Use Efficiency through Reduced Irrigation for Sustainable Cotton Production
by Hafiz Shahzad Ahmad, Muhammad Imran, Fiaz Ahmad, Shah Rukh, Rao Muhammad Ikram, Hafiz Muhammad Rafique, Zafar Iqbal, Abdulaziz Abdullah Alsahli, Mohammed Nasser Alyemeni, Shafaqat Ali and Tanveer-ul-Haq
Sustainability 2021, 13(7), 4044; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13074044 - 6 Apr 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3735
Abstract
The socio-economic development of a country is highly dependent on water availability. Nowadays, increasing water scarcity is a major global challenge. Continuing improvements in water-use efficiency are essential for cotton production sustainability. Reduced irrigation in cotton could be a solution to water shortage [...] Read more.
The socio-economic development of a country is highly dependent on water availability. Nowadays, increasing water scarcity is a major global challenge. Continuing improvements in water-use efficiency are essential for cotton production sustainability. Reduced irrigation in cotton could be a solution to water shortage in the arid climate without compromising the cotton yield. Therefore, a two-year field study was conducted to assess the effect of two levels of irrigation i.e., 50% and 100% of available water content (AWC) on the yield of four cotton genotypes (CIM-678, CIM-343, CRIS-613, and CYTO-510). The maximum seed cotton yield was observed in CIM-678, which was 2.31 and 2.46 Mg ha−1 under 100% AWC during 2018 and 2019, respectively, and was non-significantly reduced by 7.7 and 8.94%, owing to deficit irrigation. The maximum water use efficiency (WUE) of 0.55 and 0.64 Kg ha−1 mm−1 was observed under 50% AWC in CIM-678, which was significantly higher than WUE at 100% AWC during both years. Leaf area index and physiological parameters such as photosynthesis rate, transpiration rate, and stomatal conductance were not significantly affected by deficit irrigation. So, it was concluded that the reduced irrigation technique performed well without significant yield loss, improve WUE, and saved 37 cm of water that could be used for other crops or to increase the area of the cotton crop. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

23 pages, 1349 KiB  
Article
Agricultural Credit and Extension Services: Does Their Synergy Augment Farmers’ Economic Outcomes?
by Masaood Moahid, Ghulam Dastgir Khan, Yuichiro Yoshida, Niraj Prakash Joshi and Keshav Lall Maharjan
Sustainability 2021, 13(7), 3758; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13073758 - 28 Mar 2021
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 3204
Abstract
Access to credit is essential for sustainable agricultural development. This paper evaluates the impact of formal and informal agricultural credit, access to extension services, and different combinations of agricultural credit and extension services on the economic outcomes of farming households in Afghanistan. This [...] Read more.
Access to credit is essential for sustainable agricultural development. This paper evaluates the impact of formal and informal agricultural credit, access to extension services, and different combinations of agricultural credit and extension services on the economic outcomes of farming households in Afghanistan. This study applies a quasi-experimental approach (propensity score matching) and inverse-probability-weighted regression adjustment (IPWRA) analysis. The data comes from a survey of 277 randomly selected farming households in the three districts of rural Afghanistan. The results show that having access to formal agricultural credit has a positive and differentiated impact on the farming costs and net revenue of farming households. However, the effects increase when a farming household has access to both formal credit and extension services. The results also reveal that credit constraints affect farming costs and net revenue. The study provides some practical implications for agricultural development policymakers. First, formal agricultural credit affects farm revenue in rural Afghanistan. Second, the impact of credit bundled with agricultural extension services on farm revenue is higher than the impact of the provision of each service separately. Therefore, a more sustainable agricultural credit arrangement should be supplemented by extension services for farmers in Afghanistan. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

18 pages, 1402 KiB  
Article
Effects of Heat Stress on Growth, Physiology of Plants, Yield and Grain Quality of Different Spring Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) Genotypes
by Muhammad Waheed Riaz, Liu Yang, Muhammad Irfan Yousaf, Abdul Sami, Xu Dong Mei, Liaqat Shah, Shamsur Rehman, Liu Xue, Hongqi Si and Chuanxi Ma
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2972; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052972 - 9 Mar 2021
Cited by 36 | Viewed by 5860
Abstract
Heat stress is one of the major threats to wheat production in many wheat-growing areas of the world as it causes severe yield loss at the reproductive stage. In the current study, 28 crosses were developed using 11 parental lines, including 7 female [...] Read more.
Heat stress is one of the major threats to wheat production in many wheat-growing areas of the world as it causes severe yield loss at the reproductive stage. In the current study, 28 crosses were developed using 11 parental lines, including 7 female lines and 4 male testers following line × tester matting design in 2018–2019. Twenty-eight crosses along with their 11 parental lines were sown in a randomized complete block design in triplicate under optimal and heat stress conditions. Fifteen different morpho-physiological and grain quality parameters were recorded at different growth stages. Analysis of variance illustrated the presence of highly significant differences among wheat genotypes for all traits under both optimal and heat stress conditions. The results of combining ability unveiled the predominant role of non-additive gene action in the inheritance of almost all the studied traits under both conditions. Among parents, 3 parental lines WL-27, WT-39, and WL-57 showed good combining ability under both normal and heat stress conditions. Among crosses, WL-8 × WT-17, WL-37 × WT-17, WL-7 × WT-39, and WL-37 × WT-39 portrayed the highest specific combining ability effects for grain yield and its related traits under optimal as well as heat stress conditions. Biplot and cluster analysis confirmed the results of general and specific combining ability by showing that these wheat crosses belonged to a highly productive and heat tolerant cluster. Correlation analysis revealed a significantly positive correlation of grain yield with net photosynthetic rate, thousand-grain rate, and the number of grains per spike. The designated parental lines and their crosses were selected for future breeding programs in the development of heat resilient, climate-smart wheat genotypes. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

13 pages, 2647 KiB  
Article
Performance of Spring and Summer-Sown Maize under Different Irrigation Strategies in Pakistan
by Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Muhammad Imran, Anwar-ul-Hassan Khan, Ali Fares, Jiří Šimůnek, Tanveer Ul-Haq, Abdulaziz Abdullah Alsahli, Mohammed Nasser Alyemeni and Shafaqat Ali
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2757; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052757 - 4 Mar 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2637
Abstract
Pakistan is facing severe water shortages, so using the available water efficiently is essential for maximizing crop production. This can be achieved through efficient irrigation practices. Field studies were carried out to determine the dynamics of soil water and the efficiency of water [...] Read more.
Pakistan is facing severe water shortages, so using the available water efficiently is essential for maximizing crop production. This can be achieved through efficient irrigation practices. Field studies were carried out to determine the dynamics of soil water and the efficiency of water utilization for maize grown under five irrigation techniques (flood-irrigated flatbed, furrow-irrigated ridge, furrow-irrigated raised bed, furrow-irrigated raised bed with plastic mulch, and sprinkler-irrigated flatbed). Spring and summer maize was grown for two years. The Irrigation Management System (IManSys) was used to estimate the irrigation requirements, evapotranspiration, and other water balance components for this study’s different experimental treatments based on site-specific crop, soil, and weather parameters. The results showed that the flood irrigation flatbed (FIF) treatment produced the highest evapotranspiration, leaf area index (LAI), and biomass yield compared to other treatments. However, this treatment did not produce the highest grain yield and had the lowest water use efficiency (WUE) and irrigation water use efficiency (WUEi) compared to the furrow-irrigated raised-bed treatment. The furrow-irrigated raised bed with plastic mulch (FIRBM) treatment improved grain yield, WUE, WUEi, and harvest index compared to the flood irrigation flatbed (FIF) treatment. The results showed a strong correlation between measured and estimated net irrigation requirements and evapotranspiration, with high r2 values (0.93, 0.99, 0.98, and 0.98) for the spring- and summer-sown maize. It was concluded that the FIRBM treatments improved the grain yield, WUE, and WUEi, which ultimately enhanced sustainable crop production. The growing of summer-sown maize in Pakistan has the potential for sustainable maize production under the semiarid and arid climate. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

17 pages, 721 KiB  
Article
Development and Sustainability of Rural Economy of Pakistan through Local Community Support for CPEC
by Inam Ullah Khalil, Sehresh Hena, Usman Ghani, Raza Ullah, Inayatullah Jan, Abdul Rauf, Abdul Rehman, Azhar Abbas and Luan Jingdong
Sustainability 2021, 13(2), 686; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020686 - 12 Jan 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 4303
Abstract
This paper investigates the local community support for the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) using the lens of social exchange theory. The study examines the direct effect of social, economic, cultural, and environmental factors on the local community support for CPEC projects, and [...] Read more.
This paper investigates the local community support for the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) using the lens of social exchange theory. The study examines the direct effect of social, economic, cultural, and environmental factors on the local community support for CPEC projects, and the resultant impacts on the development and sustainability of the rural economy of Pakistan. The study also explores the moderation effect of media influence on shaping positive perceptions of CPEC among the local populace. The local communities at the CPEC route which are affected or can be affected by the project were targeted for data collection using a structured questionnaire. The collected valid data (N = 259) were thoroughly analyzed by obtaining reliability and validity statistics, a correlation matrix, multiple regression, moderation analysis, and hypotheses testing. Our results substantiate that the local community support for the CPEC project is heavily dependent on social, economic, cultural, and environmental factors and that there is a positive influence of media impact as an opinion-maker in the local community regarding the CPEC. The CPEC is expected to develop the rural economy, particularly through improvements in agriculture and allied activities, thereby providing livelihoods and income-generating opportunities to the rural masses. The article is important for regulators, the CPEC authority, government bodies, and the relevant community. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

18 pages, 2254 KiB  
Article
Glycinebetaine-Induced Alteration in Gaseous Exchange Capacity and Osmoprotective Phenomena in Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) under Water Deficit Conditions
by Zanib Nazar, Nudrat Aisha Akram, Muhammad Hamzah Saleem, Muhammad Ashraf, Shakeel Ahmed, Shafaqat Ali, Abdulaziz Abdullah Alsahli and Mohammed Nasser Alyemeni
Sustainability 2020, 12(24), 10649; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122410649 - 20 Dec 2020
Cited by 31 | Viewed by 2369
Abstract
Several inorganic and organic compounds including glycine betaine (GB) are presently being used as an exogenous application to enhance tolerance in plants to different environmental stresses. The current study assessed to what extent exogenously applied GB could improve the gaseous exchange capacity and [...] Read more.
Several inorganic and organic compounds including glycine betaine (GB) are presently being used as an exogenous application to enhance tolerance in plants to different environmental stresses. The current study assessed to what extent exogenously applied GB could improve the gaseous exchange capacity and primary and secondary metabolites in two accessions (16178 and 16180) of safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) plants under drought stress. Three-week-old plants of both safflower accessions were subjected to well-watered (control) or water-deficit conditions (60% field capacity (FC)). Three levels of GB (control, 50 mM and 100 mM) were sprayed to the foliage of the control and stressed plants after one month of drought application. After two weeks of foliar application of GB, gas exchange characteristics and other biochemical parameters were determined. The results showed that water deficiency markedly suppressed plant biomass, chlorophyll contents, photosynthesis rate (A), water use efficiency (A/E), stomatal conductance (gs) and relative water contents (RWC) of both accessions of safflower, while it enhanced the levels of osmolytes (GB and proline), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and total phenolics. Foliar application of GB was effective in enhancing the plant biomass, chlorophyll contents, gs, sub-stomatal CO2 concentration (Ci), Ci/Ca ratio, osmolytes, H2O2, ascorbic acid (AsA), total phenolics and RWC in safflower plants under water shortage. Thus, exogenous application of GB could be used as an effective strategy to improve plant growth, photosynthetic attributes and secondary metabolites in safflower plants under water deficit conditions. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

15 pages, 2403 KiB  
Article
Integrated Nutrient Management Enhances Soil Quality and Crop Productivity in Maize-Based Cropping System
by Muhammad Abid, Tahira Batool, Ghulam Siddique, Shafaqat Ali, Rana Binyamin, Munazzam Jawad Shahid, Muhammad Rizwan, Abdulaziz Abdullah Alsahli and Mohammed Nasser Alyemeni
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10214; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310214 - 7 Dec 2020
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 3570
Abstract
Soil quality deterioration, especially in intensive cropping systems, has become a serious problem for crop productivity; consequently, strategies for sustainable crop production and soil health are urgently required. Experiments on fields were organized to investigate the impact of organic manures on crop productivity, [...] Read more.
Soil quality deterioration, especially in intensive cropping systems, has become a serious problem for crop productivity; consequently, strategies for sustainable crop production and soil health are urgently required. Experiments on fields were organized to investigate the impact of organic manures on crop productivity, soil physiochemical properties and soil water availability in a maize-based cropping system. The experiment consisted of five treatments, including organic manures (OM) and inorganic nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK) fertilizers applied separately and in combinations: NPK = 250-150-125 Kg/ha (recommended rate), farmyard manure (FYM) = 16 t/ha, poultry manure (PM) = 13 t/ha, NPK + FYM = 150-85-50 Kg/ha + 8.5 t/ha and NPK + PM = 150-85-50 Kg/ha + 7.0 t/ha. The results showed that the combination of OM with mineral fertilizers increased crop productivity, fertilizer use efficiency and yield sustainability indices over the treatments amended with sole application of mineral fertilizers and OM. The analysis of undisturbed soil samples during different crop growth stages revealed that the addition of OM decreased the bulk density and increased the pore volume of soil at the beds of 0–20 and 20–40 cm. The application of OM to the soil not only increased saturated hydraulic conductivity of the soil but also improved total available and readily available water contents to the plants, especially when FYM was included at 16 t ha−1. Soil-water retention properties recorded over the entire seven-day monitoring period following irrigation in the OM-amended treatments were consistently higher than the sole mineral NPK application treatments. When testing the soil nutrient status during different crop growth stages, it was noted that by adding OM into the soil not only the status of the organic carbon of soil, extractable N and K and available P contents is increased, but the duration of their availability to the plants are also enhanced. The results of the study show that organic manures addition is of major significance for maintaining soil quality and crop production sustainably, and should be advocated in the nutrient management strategies of intensive water- and nutrient-demanding cropping systems. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

17 pages, 901 KiB  
Article
Drivers of Farm Households’ Perceived Risk Sources and Factors Affecting Uptake of Mitigation Strategies in Punjab Pakistan: Implications for Sustainable Agriculture
by Muhammad Amjed Iqbal, Azhar Abbas, Syed Asif Ali Naqvi, Muhammad Rizwan, Abdus Samie and Umar Ijaz Ahmed
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 9895; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12239895 - 26 Nov 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2969
Abstract
Climate change is a serious threat to agriculture in many developing countries including Pakistan. Changing pattern of climate and its extreme conditions have already led to a decline in crop productivity. However, farmers in developing countries experience risks beyond just climate change, many [...] Read more.
Climate change is a serious threat to agriculture in many developing countries including Pakistan. Changing pattern of climate and its extreme conditions have already led to a decline in crop productivity. However, farmers in developing countries experience risks beyond just climate change, many of which are related to policy, strategy, and factor endowments. The impact of these risks have serious implications for food security, rural livelihood, farm households’ wellbeing, and, above all, their motive to adapt to these changes in the long-term. To have an in-depth knowledge of farmers’ perceptions about the changing climate, this study investigates various aspects such as the determinants of perception about various risk sources and the relevant mitigation and adaptation options. To do so, 480 farmers from agriculture-dominated Punjab province were randomly selected in order for us to evaluate their awareness levels, socioeconomic dynamics that influence their perceptions, and various factors that influence their perceptions to achieve the desired findings. We applied the principle factor analysis approach to ascertain major sources and strategies based on farmers’ perception and planned/practiced options. Further, regression analysis was done to evaluate the factors influencing the perception levels of farmers about risk sources. The results showed that majority of the farmers faced various risks, and were trying to adapt crop husbandry practices towards these perceived risks. Change in agricultural policies (3.96) was placed as the highest risk source, while the need for small dams/turbine schemes was the top priority for risk management strategy (mean value of 4.39). By observing the effect of farm and farmer’s characteristics on risk sources and risk management strategies, it was revealed that these characteristics ominously provoked farmers’ perspectives about risk sources and management strategies. The findings imply the need for coherent environmental policy that encompasses price stability, community-led adaptation campaigns, and easy/uninterrupted flows of information that enables the farming community to facilitate sustainable decision processes. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

33 pages, 8985 KiB  
Article
Remote Sensing and Modelling Based Framework for Valuing Irrigation System Efficiency and Steering Indicators of Consumptive Water Use in an Irrigated Region
by Muhammad Usman, Talha Mahmood, Christopher Conrad and Habib Ullah Bodla
Sustainability 2020, 12(22), 9535; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229535 - 16 Nov 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2562
Abstract
Water crises are becoming severe in recent times, further fueled by population increase and climate change. They result in complex and unsustainable water management. Spatial estimation of consumptive water use is vital for performance assessment of the irrigation system using Remote Sensing (RS). [...] Read more.
Water crises are becoming severe in recent times, further fueled by population increase and climate change. They result in complex and unsustainable water management. Spatial estimation of consumptive water use is vital for performance assessment of the irrigation system using Remote Sensing (RS). For this study, its estimation is done using the Soil Energy Balance Algorithm for Land (SEBAL) approach. Performance indicators including equity, adequacy, and reliability were worked out at various spatiotemporal scales. Moreover, optimization and sustainable use of water resources are not possible without knowing the factors mainly influencing consumptive water use of major crops. For that purpose, random forest regression modelling was employed using various sets of factors for site-specific, proximity, and cropping system. The results show that the system is underperforming both for Kharif (i.e., summer) and Rabi (i.e., winter) seasons. Performance indicators highlight poor water distribution in the system, a shortage of water supply, and unreliability. The results are relatively good for Rabi as compared to Kharif, with an overall poor situation for both seasons. Factors importance varies for different crops. Overall, distance from canal, road density, canal density, and farm approachability are the most important factors for explaining consumptive water use. Auditing of consumptive water use shows the potential for resource optimization through on-farm water management by the targeted approach. The results are based on the present situation without considering future changes in canal water supply and consumptive water use under climate change. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

15 pages, 903 KiB  
Article
Production Risk and Competency among Categorized Rice Peasants: Cross-Sectional Evidence from an Emerging Country
by Muhammad Rizwan, Ping Qing, Abdul Saboor, Muhammad Amjed Iqbal and Adnan Nazir
Sustainability 2020, 12(9), 3770; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093770 - 6 May 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2375
Abstract
Pakistan is an agrarian economy confronting both risk and uncertainty. Rural migration to urban and off-farm work is increasing in the country. Off-farm work assists in decreasing risk and uncertainty while technical efficiency is linked with off-farm employment. This research effort aims at [...] Read more.
Pakistan is an agrarian economy confronting both risk and uncertainty. Rural migration to urban and off-farm work is increasing in the country. Off-farm work assists in decreasing risk and uncertainty while technical efficiency is linked with off-farm employment. This research effort aims at investigating the underpinnings of production characteristics, risk, and efficiency across categories of rice farmers, i.e., with and without off-farm work, by developing two stochastic frontier models. Empirical results reveal that both groups of farmers are using inputs in different ways, subsequently production varies across these groups. Farmers in both the categories have common characteristics in terms of production function. Coefficient of family size is positively significant to the group of farmers having off-farm work while negatively associated to their counterparts. High temperature and prevalence of disease found risk increasing factors. Though one group is more efficient, in general both groups are technically inefficient. The short-term policy focus should be diverted to ensuring availability and timely application of inputs to enhance efficiency. In the long run, policy initiatives need to be taken towards rural development by providing employment facilitating social and economic infrastructure, along with focus on Research and Development (R&D) particularly keeping the rice belt in view. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop